Women, Voting, and Social Assistance

Posted by University of Pennsylvania on April 20, 2015

The Penn Program on Democracy, Citizenship, and Constitutionalism, The Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies Program, and The Latin American and Latino Study Program


Women, Voting, and Social Assistance: Mexico and Argentina in the Mid-20th Century

Gisela Zaremberg
DCC Visiting Scholar
Professor, FLACSO – Mexico

Thu. April 23 / 12:00 – 1:30 pm / Light lunch provided
Silverstein Forum / Stiteler Hall First Floor (Accessibility)

WHY DID WOMEN’S ORGANIZATIONS HAVE VARIED LEVELS of success in pushing forward their social agendas after the expansion of female suffrage? Drawing from her book Mujeres, Votos, y Asistencia Social, DCC Visiting Scholar Gisela Zaremberg argues that when the right to vote and be voted is extended to women in the context of a consolidated monopolistic party system, the women’s inclusion into the electoral arena occurs by cooptation. As a result, the leverage of women’s organizations to advance social policies decreases (as it was the case in Mexico). In contrast, when female suffrage is achieved in the context of an incomplete monopolistic party system, the strategy of inclusion occurs via mobilization and the leverage of women’s organizations regarding social assistance increases (as it occurred in Argentina). This main argument will also be tested through the comparative analysis of 21 others countries from around the world, which include cases of both monopolistic and competitive party systems.

Gisela Zaremberg is a Professor at the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO) and a member of theNational System of Researchers (SNI) in Mexico. Her research focuses on topics such as democratic innovations, policy networks, governance, and gender. Among her recent publications is the book Votos, mujeres y asistencia social en el México priista y la Argentina personista (1947-1964), which won the 2010 Donna Lee Van Cott award for “Best Book on Latin American Institutions” from the political institutions section of the Latin American Studies Association.


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